Cool San Diego

INDIVIDUALLY SEWN JEANS: The Earnest Sewn label frequently adorns the jeans of scenesters slipping past the velvet ropes at Belo, Aubergine, and On Broadway. Each pair is hand-stamped and certified by the designer, as well as by the stitcher (who uses no machine guide, adding to each pair's uniqueness), the hand-sander who sandpapers your pants into submission for you, and the "wet process technician" who washes the jeans, resin coats them, and oven bakes them to perfection ($100 to $200). Other trendy trousers include super-snug Serfontaine Rocksteady jeans for ladies, so tight that farting in them makes it appear as though a mouse is running down your pant leg. Organic cotton jeans by Loomstate -- said to be both ecologically and aesthetically friendly -- can cost upwards of $175, but there's a variety of organic jeanwear available around town from Japanese designers that'll leave a few shekels in the pockets of your dungarees.

WOOL FILA WARMUP JACKETS: Styled for the gym but priced for the VIP lounge, Filas for women come supermodel-sized and sugar-daddy priced, at around $225 to $250. Fila jackets in semi-solid colors are seen at clubs where people in Gap khakis congregate to drink Peroni and martinis, such as the House of Blues (before 10 p.m. anyways, when they make you switch from glass to plastic cups). Also spotted at Moondoggies in PB, where women in Filas are usually accompanied by obsessively coiffed dates in button-down collared frat-boy shirts that look as if the wearers had just attended the same sale or were members of a club or profession requiring mandatory uniforms.

OVERSIZE PRINT SHIRT-SKIRTS: V-neck and U-neck long-torso shirts with large imprinted images often double as skirts in both casual and dressy settings. Local designer Sally Smith describes her Sally Bee line of oversize shirt-skirts as "driven by color, texture, and print." Originally schooled by way of a degree in industrial product design, her contributions to local sartorial style include polka-dot dresses ($52), "big feather" printed tees ($56), and "crane tunics" with stand-alone avian images splashed so large across the fabric that they nearly qualify as crane Halloween costumes ($58).

BOARDIES BEACH SHORTS: Not just for the beach and Jimmy Buffett concerts, Boardies (average $70) are de rigueur duds weekends at the 710 Beach Club (formerly Blind Melons), usually topped by either an Oklahoma State shirt (Saturdays) or a Chicago Bears jersey (Sundays). Boardies are also common at the Live Wire dive bar, seen sticking to the beer-marinated seats of their popular "leatherette booth." Bicyclists favor the same shorts, at the same venue, where cell-phone snappers are constantly digitizing Boardie-clad cyclists posing near the wrecked bike "sculpture" out front.

TROVATA CREW AND POLO SHIRTS: Faves at trendsetting Barneys in NYC ($50 to $125) and worn by urbane, upwardly inclined males wherever hipsters, hip-hoppers, and hair farmers congregate like lint in a dryer trap. Red is the shade favored by fashionistas at places such as Bar Dynamite in Mission Hills, where everything is crimson, from the lighting to the booths to the bathroom walls. A $20 credit card minimum helps weed out the riff-raff, presumably and hopefully rendering you safe from barroom assault by Blood-hating Crips to whom the color red is gangsta-speak for "Shoot me today so my friends can record a hip-hop eulogy to me tomorrow." Outside, you're on your own, so bring that neutral gray hoodie.

GRAY HOODIES: Still in style -- or more accurately in style again -- 15 years after Grunge made it cool to look Canadian (no easy feat). Popular zip-up models include several with large round "rudder" zippers resembling door knockers. Hoodies are a fave at the Casbah, no matter the theme of that night's entertainment, with shades varying all the way from gray to black and seen on everyone from Ben the door guy to the bartenders to scenesters in the courtyard ignoring the band and wearing their hoods up, pretending they don't want to be seen wanting to be seen.

RED CARPET STAPLES: Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, Versace, and Prada remain perennials at clubs and dinner emporiums where household-name designers are as cred-worthy as a platinum charge card. These blue-chip bling-slingers are all over the crowd at Aubergine on Fourth and Island, where trendy patrons watch each other using cell phones or text messaging at the bar rail to place drink orders for seated buddies. The club is so tuned to the Calvin Klein beat that even staff uniforms are personally provided by the designer whose very name is synonymous with fashionable jeans, iconic underwear, and bottled aromas with purportedly aphrodisiac qualities.

THAT '70s STYLE: Frock-of-ages gear dating back to the polyester decade is guaranteed to inspire an eight-track flashback, no matter how funkadelic your parliament, whether you're building a Brady Bunch or boogieing nights away with Donna Summer, all winter, until you fall. Platforms, go-go boots, jumpsuits, and hip-huggers with bell-bottoms wide enough for Arlo Guthrie to smuggle two or three keys into Los Angel-eeze with -- all turn up at retro hideouts such as the Zombie Lounge, where rockabilly types mix with heavy-metal hairballs and girls batting powder-blue eyelids beneath Bettie Page bangs. Found at area second-handers specializing in pre-worn clothing, pre-donned hats, pre-handled gloves, and pre-disposed sunglasses that have gone in and out of fashion at least a half-dozen times since the date of their manufacture.

THAT '80s STYLE: It's back in all its pastel-and-chiffon glory -- even the shoulder pads built like twin aircraft carriers -- particularly at places such as the Beauty Bar, which looks for all the world like the photos we used to see of European nightclubs frequented by Boy George, Adam Ant, and Rod Stewart. Rosey at says of one Beauty Bar visit: "Suddenly, I had an epiphany, courtesy of Napoleon Dynamite: a side ponytail...So many beautiful people, so many unfortunate fashion choices. Tiered ruffly skirts. Track shorts and white slouch boots. Tight, stripey T-shirt dresses. I miss the eighties as much as anyone, they were good times for me, but the fashion trends do not merit resurrection.... Every time we went to the bar, the price of the drinks went up $2 -- $6 [went to] $8 [then to] $10. They must have noticed that I wasn't wearing leg warmers or a tube top and fined me accordingly."

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